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Aples to resign from Hertford Town Council

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In this file photo, Hertford Town Councilor Archie Aples, (left) a member of the Perquimans County Schools Foundation, is shown with Governor's School scholarship winner Michael Brasseur. Aples announced Tuesday he plans to resign from Hertford Town Council in January.

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By Peter Williams
The Perquimans Weekly

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

HERTFORD — A Hertford town councilman widely seen as a moderating influence on other members of the town’s governing board announced Tuesday he’ll be stepping down on Jan. 1.

Archie Aples, who also serves as the council’s mayor pro tem, didn’t say why he’ll be leaving with nearly a year left on his current term. He did promise, however, to have more to say about his plans when the board meets again on Dec. 10. 

A New Orleans native who spent 20 years in the Air Force before moving to Hertford with his wife, Aples is the middle of his first four-year term on the Town Council. He was seen as a moderating influence on the board, seeking to calm egos and urge fellow councilors to reach toward a common goal..

Aples appeared to be growing frustrated, however, with some fellow council members’ behavior, including Councilman Quentin Jackson’s alleged assault on fellow Councilor Sid Eley following a council meeting. When Jackson, who has been charged with assault on a government official in the incident, had his last court date, all members of council were called as witnesses in the case.

Mayor Horace Reid said Aples will be missed.

“I know a lot of people who will not be happy to see this happen,” Reid said.

Muriel Harmon, a resident and often vocal critic of Jackson, said Aples’ resignation should be a wake-up call for Hertford residents.

“The resignation of Archie Aples is a very sad day for Hertford,” Harmon said.

Harmon claims Aples has been receiving threats — something Aples did not confirm Tuesday night. Harmon also said Aples’ efforts to find common ground didn’t win him any friends.

“To some white folk he was too black, and to some black folk he was too white,” Harmon said.

Hertford Town Council will pick someone to complete Aples’ unexpired term, but Harmon wonders if they’ll be able to find anyone who wants the job.

“Who in the hell would want to serve?” she asked.

A number of residents got up at Monday’s council meeting and lauded Aples and criticized Jackson.

Susan Beckwith, a property owner and businesswoman, said Hertford has the potential to thrive, but not with the leadership it currently has. She suggested she might run for council herself next year when the terms of Reid, Aples and Eley are all up.

“I am not going anywhere and I don’t care who threatens me,” Beckwith said.

Jackson tried to respond, but Reid gaveled him out of order.

Later when he was given a chance to speak, Jackson appeared chagrined.

“You can say whatever you want about me, but I am a product of Hertford,” he said. “Your vision may be different than mine, but the people wanted change.”

Jackson and Councilman Frank Norman upset two incumbent board members in the 2017 town election. Their victories changed Hertford’s town board from one with three white members and two blacks to one with four black members and one white, Eley. 

Jackson said he has tried to talk to many of the people who were critical of him Tuesday, but they don’t want to meet with him.

“I have reached out to you,” he said. “Give me a solution. Give me a solution. It can work if you talk to me. I’m human. You guys just don’t want to trust the process.”

Norman asked the audience to give the new council a year to produce results. He said he doesn’t agree with everything Jackson does, but they are trying to make Hertford better. Both attended a meeting of a national group of municipalities in Los Angeles and both said they brought back important information and contacts.

Norman said he grew up in Detroit where the sports team wasn’t the best.

“But that’s the team we had. This is the team you got,” he said.

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